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16mm for green screen work. Is it worth it?


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#1 Michael Maier

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 05:17 AM

I know 4.2.0 PAL is not the best for green screen work. We will be shooting a feature film in 25p DV soon and it calls for lots of green screen shots. 4:2:2 cameras are expensive to rent and you need to rent decks along with them to transfer your footage. Also, I have to drive 2 hours to the next rental house to rent a SDX900, which is the only 4:2:2 SD camera which shoots 25p. HD will be way too expensive for us.
So I was given the idea of using 16mm film to shoot the green screen shot. You can buy a brand new K3 Russian 16mm pretty cheap. 16mm ends are not so expensive. I know this would not be good for the whole film as the K3 is not good to shoot with sound. I heard it's very loud. Also 16mm ends are no the best workflow. But for the green screen shots only, I feel it could work, if 16mm would be an advantage over the PAL 4:2:0 25p. I think in terms of quality, I was told 16mm surpass even 4:2:2 video. I'm just not sure it would be cheaper in the end, because I would have to transfer it to digital video for editing somehow. Probably would need to transfer it to DVCPRO50 or if possible, transfer it direct to a HDD (so I could bypass the cost of the tape transfer).
Anybody has an idea if 16mm would be cheaper that way, using a K3 and 16mm ends? How much does a 16mm to HDD transfer costs? Also, I have never shot film, so I would have to research about getting good chromakey results with 16mm. Is it harder than with video?
Thanks in advance for the advice.
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 07:07 AM

Hi,

> 16mm ends are not so expensive

Several problems with this approach. First off, you probably won't even be able to get 16mm short ends; there's practically nothing going on in London to produce them, and they're therefore very hard to find. However, a roll of stock is about £100 all in but that isn't the problem - you will easily be able to rent an SDX-900 and get the DVCPRO50 transfers done just for the cost of the film transfer alone. Figure about £500/hour, at least, and the minimum booking is often a couple of hours. It just doesn't work.

Phil
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#3 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 07:42 AM

If you've never shot film, then greenscreen work is probably not the best place to start. Besides, as Phil points out, stock, processing and TK is way more expensive than hiring an SDX900. It's been mentioned before, but you could try to source one of the new DVW970's - 4.2.2 AND 25P, easily available DigiBeta decks etc, etc
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#4 Michael Maier

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 11:40 AM

Thanks guys.

Oh yeah, the DVW970 is one of those sony IMX, isn't it. They do record 25p in PAL I think. I actually know a production house in town which has one. Mabye they would rent it out or something. I will call them up. But does Avid Xpress Pro HD or Vegas edit IMX?
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 11:52 AM

Hi,

If you can get it captured to a sensible format (AVI, quicktime, stills sequence) then do it. I think the 970 is digibeta, which is very expensive to handle.

Phil
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#6 Michael Maier

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 12:27 PM

I don't know about the 970, but I'm sure one of the production houses in town has a sony IMX, and I'm almost sure those cameras do 25p. They most likely have a deck too, so maybe I can work something out with them for the capture.
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#7 Oliver Gläser

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Posted 12 August 2005 - 10:02 PM

One more thing about the K3. Great little MOS camera however I do not believe that there is a registration pin in them, and without one, your image will not be as steady as it needs be for compositing. Consider the strange look of one image moving, even if it is only slightly, while your plate (shot on video ) is rock steady. Just one more thing to consider. Hopefully the video route works out for you though.
Oliver Glaser
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#8 Michael Maier

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 04:42 AM

Yeah, I have given up on the 16mm idea. I will rent a DV50 system. It will be easier. Thanks for all the opinions.
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#9 Matt Pacini

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Posted 16 August 2005 - 01:18 PM

Yeah, I have given up on the 16mm idea. I will rent a DV50 system. It will be easier.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


And it would be easier yet to shoot on a VHS camcorder.
Doesn't mean it's going to be better...
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#10 scribe

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Posted 16 August 2005 - 11:10 PM

I've shot super-16 greenscreen and had great results. Why not rent an MOS camera for the day instead of buying. While you're at it, grab a person with film experience and use them as second unit and pick their brain. You'll get your shot, learn about film and perhaps save money. I know this gives up a bit of creative control, but in the long run it may be worth it.
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